Saturday, August 27, 2011

2011 FIDE World Cup

Watch it for fun and Goddess Bless!

Round 1 starts tomorrow (or today, depending on the time zones). This is mostly a dude event which does not interest me unless an American advances into the semi-finals -- not likely to happen (even with GM Gata Kamsky playing) but hey, miracles have been known to occur.  The top players in the world have all bowed out, tsk tsk.  But there are enough hungry GMs available to make an event anyway, and  they will receive a nice paycheck - if the checks don't bounce, ahem.

I will pay attention to see how the few chess femmes do.  GM Judit Polgar, playing for Hungary, has an ELO of 2699 and needs just a squeek to get back into the 2700 club.  Unfortunately, these days, that doesn't mean a whole lot, unless a player is up in the 2750+ range.  GM Polgar comes into the event ranked 33rd on the list of 128 players, and that says something about her incredible endurance as a top level player despite having taken time off to get married and have two children.  You go, Girl!  I'm rooting for Judit all the way!

The only other female player is GM Hou Yifan of China, ranked on the list at the official website at 2575.  Hou is the current women's world chess champion and has been very active in both women-only and mixed events since winning that title in December, 2010.  She is preparing for an upcoming match for the women's title against GM Koneru Humpy of India later this year.

So, let's see how the ladies do.  I will follow them as closely as I can, schedule permitting.

I will try to keep an eye on the US players, this year making up a nice contingent and featuring both seasoned veterans, a few more recent GM-earned titles (five years or younger titles) and some young, fresh bucks:

GM Gata Kamsky (USA 2741), ranked 8th of participants
GM Alexander Onischuk (USA 2675), ranked 51st of participants
GM Yuri Shulman (USA 2617), ranked 86th of participants
GM Ray Robson (USA 2560), ranked 103 of participants.  Ray is the youngest US player to earn a GM title.  He's a cutie and growing so fast his suits aren't keeping up with him.  I would say he's the equivalent of the Justin Bever of chess, but since relatively few girls of certain age follow chess, Ray doesn't have a screaming mad fan base of girls.
GM Samuel L. Shankland (USA 2539), ranked 111th of participants.  Sam Shankland is a hunk. If I were 40 years younger I'd be chasing after him myself, LOL!  He had his ups and downs on the path toward earning that not-so-easy and often elusive GM title and at one point announced to anyone listening that he was going to quit chess, at the ripe old age of 18.  Good thing he changed his mind :)
GM Alexander Ivanov (USA 2538), ranked 112th of participants

Realistically for the American representatives, Kamsky has the best chance to advance, simply by dint of his rating and extensive experience in playing in such events.   But this is a knock-out tournament, and anything can and ususally does happen.

Like the 2010 Chess Olympiad, this event is being held in the wilds of farthest away Russian - in Siberia, maybe even in an old prison camp - Mansky Kamsky.  Okay, that's just what I call it.  It's actually Khanty-Mansiysk.  I prefer Mansky Kamsky, it's easier to remember and it has a certain "ring" to it, if you know what I mean.  And I'm just kidding about the prison camp thing.  Czar for Life Putin made sure it's well hidden and no one without top secret clearance will be allowed anywhere near that area...

Rah rah Judit and Yifan!  Rah rah to the Americans! 

And a shout out to our Canadian friends:

GM Mark Bluvshstein (2611), starting in 89th place
IM Eric Hansen (2449), starting in 124th place.  Eric is one of a relative handful of IMs participating in this momentous event.  Yah, Eric!


Anonymous said...

Sam Shankland defeated Peter Leko in the first game!

Jan said...

Holy Hathor! And here I am trimming the lawn, watering, doing laundry and working on a mark-up of a Goddesschess businesscard and brochure. Ohmhygoddess! Way to go, Mr. Hottie Shankland!

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